Google refocuses Dart as a JavaScript helper

Google no longer plans to embed a Dart virtual machine within its Chrome browser

Backing down on ambitions to create a commercial grade Web programming language, Google is shifting work on its Dart programming language to make it an optimization aid for the pervasively popular JavaScript, which Dart was originally designed to supplant.

The company no longer plans to incorporate Dart into its Chrome browser, the two creators behind Dart announced in a blog item posted Wednesday. Going forward, Dart will be most useful for developers as a tool to create better JavaScript code.

Google launched Dart in 2011 to address limitations around JavaScript, which was being used to build complex Web applications even though it was created chiefly to provide simple scripting capabilities to Web pages.

Initially, Dart's developers focused on building a virtual machine that would run Dart code inside Chrome and other browsers, which would have allowed developers to write Web applications in Dart. No other browser makers made any significant moves to adopt Dart, and so the decision to not include it in Chrome pretty much seals its fate as a stand-alone programming language for the Web.

Google worked hard to lure developers away from JavaScript to Dart, perhaps with only limited success. In the years since Dart's release, a number of other tools have appeared designed to bring greater rigor to JavaScript programming without requiring developers to learn a new language.

Microsoft released TypeScript, a superset of JavaScript that added static typing, classes and modularization and other capabilities typically found in more heavy-duty languages such as C++ and Java. Other engineers at Google developed AngularJS, a framework for applying more traditional programming methodologies to JavaScript-based user interfaces.

The Dart developers themselves created a tool that converts Dart code into JavaScript, so it can be used by all browsers. This is where the work on Dart will continue. At the Association for Computing Machinery's Applicative conference last month, Dart developer Dan Grove said one of the chief goals for the Dart project will be to "make it easier for JavaScript applications to suck in components written in Dart."

Dart remains fairly widely used within Google itself. The Google Ads business unit is one of the largest users of Dart, according to the company. It is also used for Google Fiber and the Google Express online store and for the internal business applications used by the Google sales team.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Development toolsapplication developmentGooglesoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?